The need for and benefits of having managers who coach others has never been stronger or more widely understood.
In some organizations, there is extensive support for developing coaching skills within credible and sophisticated HR/Talent departments. These organizations offer courses and organizational support for managers to learn how to coach people and to do it whenever they can. But challenges remain. And these challenges need to be addressed if the norm of creating a tangible coaching culture is to be achieved and moved from “great theory” to realistic common practice.
Remember, the vast majority of managers today have a widely dispersed set of roles and responsibilities — often divided in four broad areas:
- Coaching (and Supporting Others)
Technical generally means that the person is working “on their own stuff” – some as much as 75 percent of the time — and this leaves little time for their other important responsibilities – like leading, managing and coaching others.
This reality is pervasive and creates a tremendous challenge for managers who have to juggle priorities constantly. Unfortunately, coaching others often falls to the bottom of the traditional or even digitally organized “to do” list. Coaching opportunities present themselves but usually are simply not perceived to be pressing enough to break through the clutter of “must do” tasks. Remembering priority management principles, this is a classic example of how what is MOST important for managers does not get done because, though important, it is not pressing.
Because managers often do not have enough time (or the right priorities) to seriously coach others, doesn’t mean they can’t do what they can, when they can. The GROW model shared in the article in the first paragraph is easy and very useful. Managers need to know that they do not have to be an expert coach to create an effective coaching experience for their staff. While not neglecting getting all the knowledge and know-how possible to be credible coaches, managers can simply take every opportunity to provide feedback or get into a meaningful discussion about how best to keep growing.
Helping managers by providing curated content for them is also an increasingly important addition to the coaching culture “toolbox.” Share great insights, articles, books, and blogs that strike you as powerful. The issue here that remains a problem is that the internet has too many “things” to consider and too much “clutter” and too many “distractions” to make the sharing of great content easy and practical. But more curated content continues to be available as are coaching tools that focus on making interactions more focused, easy to complete, and track online.
Finally, include an emphasis on self-coaching. Encourage everyone to coach themselves using all the tools at their disposal. The very process of coaching oneself strengthens a manager’s ability to coach others.